Rocket, or arugala as it is called in some parts of the world, goes so well with pasta. This salad, quite simple to make, mixes the two with a lemony dressing. It is a more filling salad than those that we have made lately, so very suitable for cooler weather during Late Summer and Autumn, and also as Winter approaches.
Chickpeas combined with orzo (rice shaped pasta), other pasta or rice is quite common in Italy, Spain and Greece. The dishes are usually simply cooked, perhaps with one herb or spice addition. Garlic, saffron, rosemary and hot peppers are quite common choices.
Today we have a soup with chickpeas and orzo, flavoured with rosemary. It is a simple, rustic and delicate soup, meditative to eat and quiet in its flavour profile. But bang full of nutrition and so very enjoyable. It can be a meal in itself, perhaps with a green salad and crusty bread to follow.
Orzo, that tiny rice shaped pasta not to be confused with barley which is called orzo in Italy, pairs well with rice and with lentils. In this Greek dish it is cooked with lentils or beans and then topped with deeply flavoured caramelised onions. Yum.
There is some debate about whether the practice of combining pasta and lentils began in Italy or Greece, but what is known is that regions in both countries have traditionally made this pairing. It extends through the Middle East where rice and short pieces of noodles are also cooked together.
A spicy pasta dish hit the table this week, one that certainly packs a chilli hit, but one that also includes yoghurt and feta, and the cooling peas to temper that punch. It is quite a glorious dish, silky and creamy with the texture of toasted pine nuts. I am making it in Winter, but I highly recommend it for Spring. It can be made any time of year, of course, but peas fresh from the vine lift the dish to a different level. Bookmark it now for your spring time.
The recipe is one of Ottolenghi’s from his Guardian column and from his book, Jerusalem. We are cooking our way through Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by.
We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
Pasta is back in fashion! The supermarket shelves are bowing under the weight of the multitude of different types and brands of pasta. Italian shops are extending their shelves to stock the increased range. Customers are querying staff about the different sorts and the differences between brands.
The local Italian shop is amazing, their staff very knowledgeable, and the range of pastas outstanding. Using a good quality pasta makes quite a difference.
A pasta salad! Some may say this is corny, but we love them, and they are also such a good way to use up left over cooked pasta. This one takes some sweet roasted peppers – at least some red ones, but add green, yellow and orange if you have them, and tosses them with any cooked and cooled pasta and toasted walnuts. Goats cheese or Persian feta is optional. Today we left it off, but it does make a good addition to the salad.
What about other Capsicum dishes? Try Roasted Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans, Tomato and Red Pepper Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Lime and Chilli, and Roasted Peppers and Eggplant Salad.
I had recently made Jamie Oliver’s Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella, when I came across this similar recipe by Ottolenghi. The concept is the same – cheesey pasta in tomato sauce, baked until melty – the execution is different, with different pastas, different spices, cheeses and cooking methods. They are both great left-over-pasta-and-tomato-sauce dishes – layer with cheese and bake or grill – and hence they would make fabulous Sunday night supper meals.
I think Jamie’s recipe is a winner – easy to make and packed with flavour, and it has an honesty about its simplicity which shines through in the finished dish. Ottolenghi’s version layers the flavours with herbs and spices and uses the bite of feta and the umami of aged cheese and parmesan to add depth to the dish. It is different to Jamie’s in that the pasta is the focus and it is baked until the top layer is crispy and the cheese is golden brown. Delicious. Jamie’s recipe is pasta bathed in tomato sauce, Ottolenghi’s is pasta with a little tomato sauce.
I always preferred my father’s pasta the next day, when he’d put it in a hot oven with heaps of extra cheese. It would emerge slightly burned and very crisp on top.
This recipe serves a heap of people, up to 10, depending on how hungry the mob is. So don’t be afraid to halve it for a smaller family meal. Just note that the baking dish must be big enough to hold the pasta in a shallow layer. Or bake in separate dishes as I did.
I also have to mention that Ottolenghi grills this dish but I baked it. Partly because that is easier in our kitchen, but mostly because the recipe asks that the tomato sauce sits aside while the pasta is cooked, so it has lost heat. Baking heats the dish again beautifully.
As already mentioned, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.
In fact, it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
Browse all of our Pasta dishes, our Baked dishes and our Italian recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.
We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
During a delightful week at my daughter’s place, running wild with the two kids, we had an informal Sunday lunch with friends and made this baked pasta dish from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy. Jamie describes it as a wonderful dish which is simple to make, and he is right on both points.
He first fell in love with this dish in Italy, then tried to reproduce it in his school’s program for 37p per serve. He tells how he fell out of love with it because he had to use cheap pasta and cheap cheese. Back in Italy, he realised that the Italian government mandates organic pasta for schools, the mozzarella was always local and fresh and the tomatoes the best available. It makes all the difference! He says that this was the recipe that was made for 1,000 kids at the Italian school he visited.
The dish is very common in Italy, and can be eaten hot, warm and room temperature. Use the best ingredients that you can, and make two – you won’t regret it.
Similar recipes include Baked Ziti with Feta, Orecchiette with Broad Beans, Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, and Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomatoes.
It’s Friday night, Pasta night, and we are all home late and tired from a long week. There is no time for a cooked sauce, we are starving. So we turn to one of our simple but delicious pasta dishes, a salad and some crusty bread.
This recipe is simple, just tomatoes, cheese and basil, so very Italian in its composition. It takes no longer than it takes to cook the pasta. Enjoy!
Why not make your own Pasta? How to Make Eggless Pasta.
It is interesting how Italy dominates the pasta world when noodles of all sorts are found all over the world, from Israel through Italy, around the Middle East, through India and Asia and up to Japan. Similarly with pizza, where many countries top their flat leavened and unleavened breads with a whole range of ingredients.
So let’s continue to celebrate noodles world wide with this dish from Iran. It is topped with roasted eggplants that are then cooked with garlic and spices, and a tangy yoghurt and creme fraiche mixture, and a mint oil. Perfectly delicious.
It is an Ottolenghi recipe, from his book Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area or in our kitchen. For this dish we stuck pretty close to the recipe.
In fact it is Ottolenghi Cook the Booksday on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note again that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
Browse all of our Noodle recipes, our Pasta dishes, and our Eggplant dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.